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Key EU terms: M

22 February 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 24 February 2010

A list of key EU legal terminology: M


Maastricht Treaty

The Treaty on European Union entered into force in 1993. Cooperation on justice and home affairs was institutionalised under Title VI of the Treaty (also known as the 'third pillar', in which the decision-making process is of the 'intergovernmental' type as opposed to the 'Community' type).

Marriage of convenience

A marriage concluded between a national of an EU Member State and a third-country national with the sole aim of circumventing the rules on entry and residence of third-country nationals.


Husband and wife relationships increasingly bring people of different countries together. The EU has adopted measures to ensure that family law decisions taken in one Member State are enforced throughout the EU.

Mass influx of people

A large movement of people into a particular area, usually fleeing unrest or war. Minimum standards for dealing with mass influxes are being established at EU level to complement standard asylum procedures.


Children under 21 have the right to reside with their family member who is an EU citizen in any EU Member State, irrespective of which country the child is from. The EU takes measures to protect children from exploitation and violence through programmes like Daphne and STOP.

Money laundering

The conversion or transfer of money, assets and property derived from criminal activities to apparently legitimate status by disguising their origin through a variety of financial manoeuvres.

  • Measures were taken in 2000 to tighten national laws and lift banking secrecy.
  • EU measures against money laundering include a Convention to Protect European Communities Financial Interests and the creation of a European Anti-Fraud Office.
  • Reports: The Commission monitors the implementation of different EU instruments by means of reports on the measures taken by Member States to comply with them.
  • Making it difficult for organised crime to benefit from illegal gains is central to EU efforts to reduce illegal drug supply.

Mutual assistance

A principle of international law implying that two or more States agree to cooperate in a certain area. The assistance specified is often written into a treaty.

Mutual recognition

A principle of international law whereby States party to an agreement decide that they will recognise and uphold legal decisions taken by competent authorities in another Member State.

Source: European Commission - Justice and Home Affairs

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